17. Probation

17.1.  Probation is the initial period of employment when the suitability of a new staff member (other than a casual) is determined. It provides an opportunity for the supervisor to determine whether a probationary staff member meets the standards required for confirmation of appointment. The staff member’s employment offer will specify the period of the probation.

17.2.  Probation entails setting and clarifying work performance objectives for staff. During a probation period the University will offer appropriate support, development opportunities and feedback to assist the probationary staff member to achieve confirmation of employment.

Probation periods

17.3.  The length of the probation period will be reasonable, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the offer of employment.

17.4.  For existing staff, a new probation period will not be required by the University for a subsequent appointment to a new position.

17.5.  Probation periods will not exceed the following:

Type of appointment Probationary period

Academic staff – continuing

Two years, extendable to a maximum of three years

Academic staff – continuing (contingent funded)

Where appointed directly to a continuing (contingent funded) employment contract, ‘Academic staff – continuing’ probation periods will apply.

Academic staff – fixed term 

  • Three months for appointments less than 12 months.
  • Six to nine months for appointments of 12 months or greater.

Professional staff – continuing

Six months, extendable to a maximum of nine months

Professional staff – continuing (contingent funded)

  • Three months for appointments less than 12 months.
  • Six months for appointments of 12 months or greater.

Professional staff – fixed term

  • Three months for appointments less than 12 months.
  • Six months for appointments of 12 months or greater.

Graduate Recruitment and Development Program (clause 11)

Twelve months.

Student Internships Scheme (clause 13.3 (d))

Three months.

17.6.  If a staff member’s employment is converted from fixed term to a continuing or (contingent funded) contract, and the staff member’s fixed term appointment was confirmed through a probation process, no further probation period is required.

Probation procedures

17.7.  The University will ensure that probation procedures are complied with in developing performance objectives, including requiring meetings between supervisors and probationary staff members.

17.8. Supervisors will ensure that performance and conduct expectations are understood and agreed. Work methods, performance objectives and indicators determined as reasonable and appropriate for the staff member to achieve in their probation period will be recorded in writing.

17.9. The supervisor will ensure that regular meetings are scheduled with a probationary staff member, that appropriate documentation is provided, and that there is the opportunity for feedback.

Conclusion of probationary period of employment

17.10.  At any time during the probationary period, if the supervisor assesses that the probationary staff member’s performance, conduct and suitability are satisfactory the supervisor will recommend to the delegate that the probationary period is completed.

17.11. The probation period will be concluded, where a probationary staff member is promoted (academic staff) or reclassified to a higher level in the current position (professional staff) during the probationary period.

Performance or conduct concerns

17.12.  Where the supervisor is concerned about the performance or conduct of a probationary staff member the supervisor will meet with the probationary staff member as soon as is reasonably practicable to discuss, record and make available these concerns.

17.13.  If the issues of concern fail to improve, the supervisor will advise the probationary staff member:

  1. that the performance standards have not been met and outline the deficiencies;
  2. the expectations for improving in accordance with the performance standards;
  3. that the staff member’s performance, conduct and suitability will be closely monitored during a reasonable period of review, and outline the timeframe in which to address the concerns; and
  4. that if the performance standards are not met the probationary staff member's employment may be terminated.

17.14. Following the completion of the review period as outlined in clause 17.13 (c), if there is little or no improvement in the conduct or performance of the probationary staff member, the supervisor will work with the probationary staff member on an improvement plan and timeline to assist them to achieve the performance standards within the remaining probationary period. In setting the performance standards, consideration will be given to:

  1. the relevant Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (in Schedule 5) or Professional Staff Classification Descriptors (in Schedule 6); and
  2. the expectations of a new employee to the University.

17.15.  During the review period, the supervisor will communicate the standard of performance required, provide feedback and coaching, and review the probationary staff member’s progress on a regular basis.

17.16.  The probation period may be extended by the University if a documented review period is in progress, up to the maximum period allowed (clause 17.5).

17.17.  Following the review period as outlined in 17.14, the supervisor will make an assessment of the staff member’s performance, conduct and suitability against the performance standards and any extenuating circumstances that may have impacted on the staff member’s performance or conduct.

17.18.  Where the probationary staff member has addressed the performance or conduct concerns within the identified timeframe, the review period will cease.

Termination of employment

17.19. If the issues of concern remain unresolved, the supervisor will provide a written evaluation on the staff member’s performance to the delegate, recommending termination of employment.

17.20. The probationary staff member will be provided a copy of the evaluation, and given a reasonable opportunity by the delegate to seek further advice and provide a response to the supervisor's recommendation.

17.21. Following consideration of the supervisor's recommendation and any response given by the probationary staff member, the delegate may recommend to the Chief People Officer that the probationary staff member’s employment be terminated.

17.22. A recommendation from the delegate of termination of employment during the probationary period in line with clause 17.17 will occur at least 15 days prior to the end of the probation period.

17.23. With consideration given to the delegate’s recommendation, the Chief People Officer will then decide to either:

  1. take no further action;
  2. confirm the appointment;
  3. refer the matter back to the supervisor to ensure that all the steps outlined in clause 17.10 – 17.14 have been complied with in substance and in a manner appropriate to the circumstances;
  4. extend the probationary period up to the maximum period allowed (clause 17.5), in which case the Chief People Officer will provide the probationary staff member with a statement outlining the duration of the extended probation period and details of where the staff member’s performance requires improvement; or
  5. terminate the probationary staff member’s employment.

17.24. Except in a case of serious misconduct, the University will provide a probationary staff member with notice of termination of employment in accordance with the notice periods provision (clause 55) during the probationary period. Notwithstanding clause 55, the probationary staff member’s employment will cease no later than the expiry of their probation period. The balance of any required notice period, as at the expiry of the probation period, will be provided as payment in lieu of notice.

17.25. Where a probationary staff member considers that the decision to terminate their employment is unreasonable the staff member may seek a review under clause 75 – Review of decision.



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